Here we give the definition of terms used in the container shipping industry. We also have a Sustainability Dictionary to define the terms for this topic. 

Agent (Agt.) - A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company.
Types of agents are:
(1) brokers
(2) commission merchants
(3) resident buyers
(4) sales agents
(5) manufacturer’s representatives

Aggregator - A value-adding intermediary between producers and customers.

Application Programming Interface (API) - A set of routines, protocols and tools for building software applications which specifies how software components should interact.

AutoMatch - Automated process of the handshake procedure for internal Best Common Match.
Backhaul - Traditionally, referred to as the return trip of a transportation vehicle (usually a truck). Now, it generally refers to the least revenue-generating leg of a shipment haul. A backhaul can be with a full or partially loaded trailer. (Opposite of headhaul.)
Barge - The cargo-carrying vehicle which may or may not have its own propulsion mechanism for the purpose of transporting goods. Primarily used by Inland water carriers, basic barges have open tops, but there are covered barges for both dry and liquid cargoes.
BCO - Abbreviation for “Beneficial Cargo Owner.” Refers to the importer of record, who physically takes possession of cargo at destination and does not act as a third party in the movement of such goods. (See Beneficial Cargo Owner definition below.)
BCO Exporter - The party that owns the freight in the container that is being exported.
BCO Importer - The party that owns the freight in the container that is being imported.
Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO) - Owner of the product in the container being imported or exported. Sometimes referred to as a shipper.
Bill of Lading (B/L) - A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods.
Blacklist (also see Whitelist) - A list of companies in which an entity does not want to do business or interact with; a list of people or products viewed with suspicion or disapproval.
Bobtails - A semi-truck is in bobtail mode when it does not have a trailer attached. Truck drivers often drive a bobtail truck when they are on their way to pick up their cargo at the beginning of a shift, or after dropping their cargo off at the end.

Booking - Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.
Booking Number - A number that identifies characteristics of an export such as dates, steamship line (SSL) and pickup location. A booking number for a post can be one or many containers. A booking number is created by the SSL and is provided to MatchBack Systems (MBSI) by the posting customer.
Cabotage - Traditionally refers to shipping along coastal routes, port-to-port. The word is often used to refer to the transport of goods between two points in the same country by a vessel or vehicle registered in another country.
Carrier - A company that undertakes the professional conveyance of goods or people.
Carrier Haulage (also see Merchant Haulage) - The inland transport service, which is performed by the steamship line (sea / ocean-carrier) under the terms and conditions of the tariff and the relevant transport document.
Chassis - A chassis, also referred to as a container chassis or an intermodal chassis, is a special wheeled frame or trailer used for ground transportation of ocean containers via truck. 

Collaborative Platform - Work with all stakeholder groups.
Container - A sealed, rigid, reusable metal box used for the loading and transportation of goods via ship, rail and truck. The two most common international standardized container sizes are twenty foot and forty foot. 

Container Yard (CY) - Location for receiving, assembling, holding, storing and delivering containers, and where containers may be picked up by shippers or redelivered by consignees.

CO2e - Carbon dioxide equivalent, standardization of the climate effects of various greenhouse gases to an equivalent amount of CO2. A measurement that includes all significant greenhouse gases emitted, not just CO2.
Customs Broker - A firm that represents importers / exporters in dealings with customs. Normally responsible for obtaining and submitting all documents for clearing merchandise through customs, arranging inland transport and paying all charges related to these functions.
DeadheadsA deadhead truck has a trailer attached but carries no freight. Deadheading means driving a cargo carrying truck (semi-truck) pulling an empty trailer. It happens when a trucker drops off a load but has to drive elsewhere to pick up another load. 

Demand - An export booking or need to match with an import container. Generally, demand details are provided by a BCO or steamship line, but can come from the trucker or integrator.
Demurrage - The penalty for exceeding free time allowed on laden containers inside port facilities under the terms of the agreement with the steamship line (sea/ocean carrier). (See Free Time.)

Depot - Facility where steamship line container stocks are managed.
Detention (Per Diem) - Charges applied for exceeding free time allowed for loading/unloading a container and return to a container yard or port under the terms of the agreement with the steamship line (sea/ocean carrier).
Deployment - Methodical procedure of introducing an activity, process, program or system to all applicable areas of an organization.
Distribution Center (DC) - Facility that is usually smaller than a firm's main warehouse and is used for receipt, temporary storage, and redistribution of goods according to the customer orders as they are received. Also called branch warehouse or distribution warehouse.
Drayage (dray) - Transport of rail or ocean freight by truck to an intermediate or final destination; typically a charge for pickup/delivery of goods moving short distances (e.g., from marine terminal to warehouse).
Dray Provider (trucker) - Primarily will be looking for demand (exports), but at times will have exports and need an import with which to matchback.
Ecosystem - A complex network or interconnected system.

Ecosystem Collaboration - Ability to engage the customer's vendors and their customers to collaborate on a common platform to benefit both parties.
Export - Identifies a posting that is outbound from the United States, Europe, Asia, etc. and is (or will be) available for loading. Many times an export posting is identified by its booking number.
Export DC - A distribution center where containers are loaded for export.
Fix Pack - A software update that contains a cumulative collection of code fixes that have been made since the last release of the product.
Free time - The amount of time that a carrier’s equipment may be used without incurring additional charges. See Demurrage.
Freight Forwarder (FF) - Also called a 'forwarder.' Supports the transportation of goods with documentation, reservations and filings. Can also coordinate the movement of containers.
Forty Foot Equivalent Unit (FEU) - A standard size international container that is 40 feet long. (See ISO container.)
Headhaul - The term used to define the highest revenue-generating shipping lane from shipper to consignee. Opposite of backhaul.
Import - Identifies a posting that is inbound to the United States, Europe, Asia, etc. and is (or will be) available for reload as an export.
Import DC - A distribution center where import containers are unloaded.
Integrators (3PL, FF, NVOCC, IMC) - Third party that facilitates the movement of the container.
Intellectual Property (IP) - a.k.a. “genius.” - A work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc.
Intermodal Marketing Company (IMC) - Intermediary that sells railroad service for containers, both domestic and international, for BCO's.
ISO - International Standards Organization
ISO Container - Standardized re-sealable transportation box for unitized freight handling with standardized equipment. Two most common sizes used in ground and sea (surface) transportation are (1) Twenty-footer (typical capacity 33.2 cubic meter or 1172 cubic feet, maximum payload 28180 kilogram or 62130 pounds) and (2) Forty-footer (typical capacity 67.7 cubic meter or 2392 cubic feet, maximum payload 28750 kilogram or 63380 pounds). The typical dimensions of a 20-foot container are: internal length 5.90 meter (19 feet 4 inches), internal width 2.35 meter (7 feet 9 inches), internal height 2.40 meter (7 feet 10 inches). Of a 40-foot container they are: internal length 12.03 meter (39 feet 6 inches), internal width 2.35 meter (7 feet 9 inches), internal height 2.4 meter (7 feet 10 inches). Also called unit load device. (Same as maritime container.)

Maritime container - See ISO container.
Matchback - Matchback and street-turn are used interchangeable and refer to the matching of import and export containers to minimize the miles driven, increase container velocity and reduce emissions. 

Merchant Haulage (also see Carrier Haulage) - Inland transport of cargo in containers arranged by the merchant. It includes empty container-moves to and from hand-over points in respect of containers released by the carrier to merchants.

Metadata - A set of data that describes and gives information about other data. MatchWerks allows customer to determine this content for certain loadable / exportable fields.

MT - Metric ton, a unit of weight that converts to 1,000 kilograms or 2,205 pounds.
Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) - Offers the same service as a steamship line, but does not own or operate a vessel. They tend to coordinate with smaller BCOs and work with several steamship lines.

Open Network - Open to anyone willing to subscribe.
Per Diem (Detention) - The penalty for exceeding free time allowed for loading/unloading under the terms of the agreement with the steamship line (sea / ocean carrier).

Port or Port Area - An area where you find a collection of terminals and depots.

Post ID - A unique reference number assigned to posts entered into MatchWerks.
Posting - Supply or demand that has been entered into the MBSI system for the purpose of finding a match. There are a number of data elements that are required for a posting to be entered.

Release - Software that has gone through the development lifecycle and is released for purchase and customer use.
Spot market - Rate you would pay for a service or product if you bought it today for immediate use versus a long-term negotiated contracted rate.

Single Sign-On - An authentication process that allows a user to access multiple applications with one set of login credentials.
Steamship Lines (SSL) - (a.k.a. sea / ocean carrier) - Controls a portion of both the supply (imports) and demand (exports) and are the owners of the containers. Steamship lines approve the reuse of the container by providing a booking number.
Street-Turn - Street-turn and matchback are used interchangeably and refer to the matching of import and export containers to minimize the miles driven, increase container velocity and reduce emissions.
Supply - The import container is generally considered the inventory or supply for matching with exports. It can be sourced from a BCO, steamship line, trucker or integrator.
Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) - Standard unit for describing a ship's cargo carrying capacity, or a shipping terminal’s cargo handling capacity. A standard forty-foot (40x8x8 feet) container equals two TEUs (each 20x8x8 feet).

Terminal(Inland) / Rail Ramp - A facility where containers are loaded on, or discharged from a deep sea / short sea vessel, barge or train.
Third Party Logistics Provider (3PL) - Helps coordinate transportation and manage a shipper's imports and exports.
Trucker (dray provider) - Primarily will be looking for demand (exports), but at times will have exports and need an import to matchback with.
UN Code Standard - These are standard postal codes assigned to worldwide cities.
Upgrades - Replacement of hardware, software or firmware with a newer or better version, in order to bring the system up to date or to improve its characteristics and functionality.
Version - A unique sequential number given to new releases of software, for both major and minor releases.
Web Application - The service we are selling which is accessed by the customer through the website using a login and password.
Website - Virtual location on the World Wide Web (WWW), containing several subject or company related webpages and data files accessible through a browser. Each website has its own unique web address, which can be reached through an Internet connection. The opening page of a website is usually called homepage which contains hyperlinks to other pages on the same or other site(s).

Whitelist - a list or register of entities provided a particular privlege, service, mobility, access or recognition. Entities on the list will be accepted, approved and/or recognized.


3PL - Third Party Logistics Company

4PL - Fourth Party Logistics Company

BCO - Beneficial Cargo Owner

BoL / B/L – Bill of Lading

CFS – Container Freight Station

CY - Container Yard

DC - Distribution Center

EIR – Equipment Interchange Report

FEU - Forty Foot Equivalent Unit

FF - Freight Forwarder

IMC - Intermodal Marketing Company

IP - Intellectual Property

IPI – Interior Point Intermodal (railroad term that applies to US imports from an origin (US) port to an inland point on an ocean BoL / B/L)

NVOCC - Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier

SSL - Steamship Line

TEU - Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit

VCY – Virtual Container Yard